The official word of the year 2016 from the Oxford Dictionary is “Post-Truth” Post-Truth as defined in Oxford Dictionaries is an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. The usage of the word as aptly put – ‘in this era of post-truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’.
One day in the 1990s, during my childhood days, I was accompanying my mother to the nearby temple. On the way, she met one of her friends who told her something about the world ending and we should pray by lighting a lamp in front of the house. Remember this was the 90s when many people were expecting the world to end in the stroke of the year 2000. Being a very devout person, she enquired the temple priest about lighting a lamp in the house. The priest responded on the affirmative. She was relieved. After this, lighting the lamp was the next thing in my mother’s task-list. On the way back, she met others and did her noble part in saving the world by spreading the word. Soon, the news spread around in the neighborhood of over a 1000 families. That evening was one of the most beautiful evenings with lights everywhere and smiling mothers everywhere in the vicinity. The world is now a safer place.My mom being the devotee she is, took her friend’s words seriously as she should have. She even checked this with the priest. The priest had no reason to say no to my mother. He saw no harm in this way of praying to the almighty. But there were other effects to this mass activity. The sale of all Pooja items like lamp oil, incense sticks, camphor, flowers et al went up in just a few hours. There were instances where playful kids got hurt by fire. Some dads were fighting with their partners. In the coming days, many were looking for astrologers to know their future. All in all, there was more to it than just a mass prayer. My dad, being the atheist he is, passed a comment how fast a religious message spreads whereas government laws don’t spread this easy.
All this happened in the 1990s when most people in India had not seen a phone. Ye fast forward to the present, where information is passed faster than a direct one-on-one communication. We don’t even need to frame full sentences. Just an image would talk a thousand words. And a humongous army, with varied perspective is just waiting to consume this information.
With the reach of mobile phones to more than half the world, the amount of information at the current speed is unbelievable. Internet stats is just ridiculous. Some examples are massive gatherings in the past years like Jallikatu, IAC kejriwal and attack on NE inhabitants in metropolitan cities in 2012.
We now breathe in the era of post-truth politics. We love to ridicule many consequences of post-truth politics, be it Trumps victory or recent UP election result but ironically we are the same set of people who love to share news of our choice in the internet completely ignorant of the credibility of the News.
It would not be wrong to state that post-truth campaign has managed to completely topsy-turvy the current political scenario in the entire Globe. While we have still not fully recovered from the hangover of US elections, fresh ghost of Post-truth campaign in the form of UP election result has embarked to haunt us. Rather, we can term it as victory of Narendra Modi than victory of BJP or very controversial Yogi Adityanath. While commenting on the success or failure of Narendra Modi as an Administrator is not the agenda of this article but no one will deny the fact that Modi too believe in “alternative facts” campaign strategy. Even after a preliminary report was filed by the railway authorities that defective coaches and wonky wheels were the reason for mishap for the recent Kanpur Train accident and no evidence of sabotage, PM Modi was seen playing around the bush with the help of “alternating facts” claiming it to be Pakistan’s conspiracy. Another funny claim by Modi was when he declared that his promise to build separate male and female toilets for nearly 138 million school children nationwide had been kept. Similarly, in another instance he claimed that UP is number 1 in crime by stating a data which is rate per day while in reality crime rate is calculated per 1,00,000 population which shows that there are many states with higher rates.
Forget about Narendra Modi and Donald Trump, other Politicians are not a day behind them. Our self-proclaimed anti-corruption crusader, Arvind Kejriwal does nothing but relies on post-truth politics. He is insanely shameless to stay in the limelight by any means. This means he doesn’t even hesitate to bluntly lie to the World. To cite an example, during the recent Punjab elections Kejriwal shared an allegedly leaked IB report which gave AAP an invincible majority through his official twitter account. He was neither shameful nor showed any concern about facts and logic even after sensible Twitterati pointed out that IB reports don’t get leaked just like that.
While talking about post-truth politics how can Rahul Baba be left behind. Numerous examples can be cited and one of the most significant being when he exaggerated the unemployment data by 3 million and graduate unemployment by almost 19% while speaking about unemployment in TN.
All these data (truth is, facts based on Data is still credible) and the latest events like US elections and UP elections’ results are evidence as manifestation of Post-Truth Era which clearly reflects the bright future of the same which is on the verge of embracing the whole World.